Cover image of the review
Nicholas Mangan, Neural Nest (slice), 2020, 3D printed Polymethyl methacrylate and acrylic paint, 30 x 40 x 28cm. Photography: Andrew Curtis.

Nicholas Mangan, Termite Economies: Neural Nodes and Root Causes

4 Jul 2020
Sutton Gallery 7 Mar - 4 Jul 2020

There is nothing exclusively human about it: culture emerges from the complex interactions of media, organisms, weather patterns, ecosystems, thought patterns, cities, discourses, fashions, populations, brains, markets, dance nights and bacterial exchanges. There are eco-systems under your fingernails. You live in cultures, and cultures live in you. They are everything and the kitchen sink

— Sadie Plant, ‘The Virtual Complexity of Culture’

Ever since excitedly rummaging through the rock collection of his grandfather who worked at the Geelong Quarries, Nicholas Mangan has been fascinated by the geological formations and subterranean microorganisms lying hidden beneath the earth’s surface. It is only natural that his sculptural practice would see him sublimate his childhood curiosity through the geological materials of which his works are composed. As early as his Untitled (nest) (2004), a ready-made ladder over which drooping nests punctured with sponge-like holes have decided to make themselves at home, Mangan has honed in on the not so firm ground on which we stand, as well as the invisible and inhuman microorganisms capable of constructing and deconstructing it.

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